Sports

Five years later: Esche amazed by Comets' success

Five years ago on June 14, 2013, the Utica Comets were officially born.

It was a day team president Robert Esche will never forget.

"I realized (that day the process) was all over," Esche said.  "We had already signed the papers and I remember getting ready over at Aqua Vino, staying downstairs and just keeping to myself.  It was actually a very calming day."

Fast forward five years later to June of 2018, and the Comets have become the toast of the town.

"I knew that we could change the community through the sport I loved," Esche said.  "That was actually my goal."

The team is currently on a remarkable run of over 100 consecutive sellouts, and is expected to break the all-time AHL record next season.

"The most humbling thing of all of it has been the sellouts," Esche said.  "Since our second year, it's just been growing and growing."

The Comets have made such a mark, the arena underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, added a restaurant and partnered with a Major Arena Soccer League team, Utica City FC.

"There's something bigger here than just a sport," Esche said.  "It's the building.  The building connects these people.  I was willing to get behind another sport and another franchise because I believe the fans are going to embrace it the same way they did with the Comets."

Utica City FC's season gets underway this December, and not even Esche could have envisioned the success of professional sports at the Aud.

"I definitely didn't see it this way," he said.


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